Facial recognition for cows is a Cargill thing now…


Cargill and Cainthus photo

Cargill is backing an Irish startup that uses facial recognition software to help increase the productivity of dairy cows, the latest move by the largest closely held U.S. company to bolster its agricultural-technology efforts.

Cargill has taken a minority stake in Cainthus, which harnesses machine-learning and imaging techniques to identify cows and glean information on everything from their behavior to appetite, David Hunt, president and co-founder of Cainthus, said in a telephone interview Wednesday…

Hunt said Dublin-based Cainthus chose Cargill over venture capital firms because of the U.S. company’s footprint in agriculture. Cargill is still owned by the same family that founded it 153 years ago and it’s one of the world’s largest crop traders and meat producers.

Most farmers in my extended family don’t farm on a scale that would require recognition software to aid productivity. Those with any four-footed critters on the farm know them by their first name. But, of course, I can understand the problem for larger farms and, of course, factory-style farming.

Will Cargill also take the lead in the next logical advance? Eliminate the need for humans to run the farm, run the machinery, deal with harvesting crops – whether animal or vegetable?

Trump’s “model American manufacturer” – Harley-Davidson – closing Kansas City plant


Chicago Tribune

❝ A deepening slump in U.S. motorcycle demand is spurring more job cuts and a plant closure at Harley-Davidson Inc., a company President Donald Trump has cast as a model American manufacturer.

The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker will close its factory in Kansas City, Missouri, and consolidate production in York, Pennsylvania…The restructuring will eliminate about 260 U.S. jobs, Chief Executive Officer Matt Levatich said on a conference call. Trump praised the company last year as a “great example” of a business creating jobs and building factories in the country.

In closing the Kansas City plant, Harley will eliminate about 800 jobs; it will add 450 in York, a mix of full-time, part-time and contract positions.

❝ “They didn’t even give us a call ahead of time,” Joe Capra, directing business agent for Local 778 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers…“It is real devastation for these people who work here and work hard in the Kansas City area.”

Dunno if their problems are intrinsic to quality control or not. Since one of their biggest competitors in the Hog market – Polaris’ Victory – is shutting down, too, I expect their design team is simply as out of date as Trump.

Grants to US climate scientists to move to France and “Make Our Planet Great Again”

❝ French President Emmanuel Macron is preparing to award a number of US based climate scientists, multi-year, all-expenses-paid grants to relocate to France.

The “Make Our Planet Great Again” grants are part of Mr Macron’s efforts to counter US President Donald Trump on the climate change front.

❝ Mr Macron is unveiling the first winners at a start-up incubator in Paris called Station F, where Microsoft and smaller tech companies are announcing projects to finance activities aimed at reducing emissions.

They are aimed at giving new impetus to the Paris accord and finding new funding to help governments and businesses meet its goals.

More than 50 world leaders were in Paris for the One Planet Summit, co-hosted by the United Nations and the World Bank. Mr Trump was not invited.

Idiots like Trump and the fools who vote for his policies never recognize that the world moves on regardless of counter productive blather and ignorant policies set in motion by dying cultures.

China selling off oil it no longer needs

The pace at which China exports the fuel it doesn’t want is set to jump by more than four times in 2018, according to the nation’s biggest energy producer.

That’s a harbinger of bad news for processors in the rest of Asia — from South Korea to Japan and India — who now have to contend with higher crude prices as well as the threat of the flood dragging down refining margins. Government-issued quotas to sell oil products abroad may also expand this year in order to ease a large supply glut in the domestic market, an analyst at China National Petroleum Corp. said on Tuesday.

China’s net oil-product exports — a measure that strips out imports — may climb about 31 percent to 46.8 million metric tons this year, CNPC said in its annual report released in Beijing. Shipments rose about 7 percent in 2017.

In particular, exports of diesel — also known as gasoil — are expected to soar 47 percent to 23.8 million tons in 2018 from a year earlier, according to the CNPC report.

Yup. Countries smart enough to walk away from fossil fuels, pollution, economists and politicians with fossilized brains – end up with “problems” like selling off the excess crap they no longer need or want. One of the early results from switching to renewables like wind and solar-generated electricity.

Will Complacency Be Tested in 2018?

❝ After years of post-crisis despair, the broad consensus of forecasters is now quite upbeat about prospects for the global economy in 2018. World GDP growth is viewed as increasingly strong, synchronous, and inflation-free. Exuberant financial markets could hardly ask for more…

❝ As was evident in both 2000 and 2008, it doesn’t take much for overvalued asset markets to fall sharply. That’s where [a] third mega-trend could come into play – a wrenching adjustment in the global saving mix. In this case, it’s all about China and the US – the polar extremes of the world’s saving distribution.

China is now in a mode of saving absorption; its domestic saving rate has declined from a peak of 52% in 2010 to 46% in 2016, and appears headed to 42%, or lower, over the next five years. Chinese surplus saving is increasingly being directed inward to support emerging middle-class consumers – making less available to fund needy deficit savers elsewhere in the world.

❝ By contrast, the US, the world’s neediest deficit country, with a domestic saving rate of just 17%, is opting for a fiscal stimulus. That will push total national saving even lower – notwithstanding the vacuous self-funding assurances of supply-siders. As shock absorbers, overvalued financial markets are likely to be squeezed by the arbitrage between the world’s largest surplus and deficit savers. And asset-dependent real economies won’t be too far behind.

I agree with Stephen Roach’s analyses of global economics, macro or otherwise, much of the time. He’s done the research and pursued an active living from managing his understanding of economic trends. Especially in Asia. Now, he’s back in the US – back in the US – back in the USA – trying to broaden the understanding of global economics inside a nation where a larger percentage of the population prefer to pray for guidance than to investigate, analyze and learn.

A sugar syrup in your ice cream may cause thousands of deaths/year

❝ In the early 2000s, a deadly gut infection began to surge. After decades of lurking in intestines and hospitals—more opportunistic nuisance than lethal threat—the bacterium Clostridium difficile abruptly exploded, spreading rapidly and causing more severe diarrheal disease than ever before. By 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that C. diff infected nearly half a million people in the US that year, killing approximately 29,000…

❝ There was another, cryptic factor at play, it seemed…With a study published in Nature recently, scientists think they’ve finally figured out what that enigmatic element was — and it’s even more obscure than anyone may have guessed. It wasn’t some new weapon the bacteria acquired or a waning antibiotic. It was a boring, harmless sugar — one often found in ice creams…

Nice piece of scientific research for a starter. Nothing answers all the questions – yet. But, so far, it seems clear the sugar trahalose has helped the bad guys along.

Know any politicians who’ve noticed China becoming a global innovator?

❝ China has achieved much since 1978, when Deng Xiaoping initiated the transition to a market economy. In terms of headline economic progress, the pace of China’s transformation over the past 40 years is unprecedented. The country’s GDP grew by nearly 10 percent per year on average, while reshaping global trade patterns and becoming the second-largest economy in the world. This success lifted 800 million people out of poverty, and the mortality rate of children under five years old was halved between 2006 and 2015.

The question now is whether China, well positioned to become the world’s innovation leader, will realize that opportunity in 2018 — or soon after

❝ Earlier this month, Apple CEO Tim Cook declared that, “China stopped being a low-labor-cost country many years ago, and that is not the reason to come to China.” The country’s manufacturing strengths now lie in its advanced production know-how and strong supply-chain networks. Understandably, China’s leadership wants to increase productivity and continue to move further up the value chain.

I suggest you read the article. Even though your representatives in Congress will (1) probably act surprised by this and (2) stamp their little feet in anger and fear – fact remains that international trade usually is a cooperative affair and the political maundering is only for that telenovela called electoral politics.

Old King Coal doesn’t stand a chance

❝ Despite plummeting wholesale electricity prices in some areas of the US as well as essentially flat electricity demand in recent years, natural gas and renewable capacity is still being built…

❝ In 2016, the Energy Information Agency notes, natural gas-fired electric generation in the US increased by 3.4 percent; non-hydroelectric renewables like wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal increased by 15.7 percent; and conventional hydroelectric power grew by 7.5 percent. Coal electric generation, on the other hand, fell by 8.4 percent in 2016.

RTFA for details. Still, unless you believe the rant of fools like Trump, you shouldn’t be surprised.

In China, Slower Growth Is Acceptable to Tackle Debt, Smog


Click to enlargeChinatopix

China can achieve a goal of doubling the size of its economy by 2020 even if annual expansion slows to 6.3 percent, according to a senior Communist Party official, signaling a greater willingness to tackle debt and pollution at the expense of growth…

In its blueprint for 2016 to 2020, China set a minimum annual growth target of 6.5 percent for the five-year period to achieve the goal of doubling gross domestic product from 2010 levels…Over the weekend, Yang Weimin, an official from the Communist Party committee overseeing economic policy, said annualized growth of 6.3 percent in 2018-2020 would do.

Based on current economic performance, the 2020 target won’t be a “huge barrier,”…China is seen growing 6.8 percent this year and 6.5 percent in 2018, according to economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg…

Yang’s remark is “a heads up on how the new thought will be implemented,” said Zhu Ning, deputy director of the National Institute of Financial Research at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

There have been times when the United States was governed and advised by technocrats, economists and, yes, even politicians who understood the value of adjusting the course of government to benefit most of the people. Not just the moneybags who could afford to belong to the Fake President’s country club.